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Toxins and Processed Foods

Sep 1, 2008
Besides the food itself being toxic and the huge number of chemicals added to it as it is processed, most commercially grown foods come to us with residues of pesticides.

Consider the food chain where animals, including humans, are eating other animals. We are familiar with how mercury concentrates in fish as it moves from those lower on the food chain up to the fish we eat. The same is true with farmed animals, whose food source has been highly manipulated through changed farming practices at all levels. Whenever we consume conventional meats and fish, our bodies are being exposed to the toxic substances in that animal flesh. For many people, this may be as often as two or three times a day. The risk of chronic disease through the ingestion of toxic animal flesh can be greatly decreased both by switching from a diet high in animal protein to one of organic plant-based foods with some organically produced meats if desired.

Say No to These Substances!

Our planet's environment has been severely manipulated and is completely different from that of just two generations ago. Of course, the same is true of the food we eat. These altered foods have been implicated as factors helping to cause a host of illnesses, from the escalating rates of obesity to heart disease. Identifying toxic ingredients in our food is a big job and can be a very confusing process -- even for medical professionals, scientists, and nutritionists. The first line of defense: When reading a food label, if you don't know or recognize the ingredients, don't eat the food! Another helpful tip is to not purchase anything in a box or container that lists unpronounceable ingredients or has more than four chemical additives. The second consideration is to eat unprocessed foods as often as possible. Third, consider the source of everything you eat and drink, not only foods, but also your fluids, including water.

Our foods contain a lot of harmful chemicals that can seriously damage our health if consumed frequently over long periods of time. The body can handle an occasional exposure, but with more than this it becomes very tired while trying to clear these chemicals. Some of us have the ability to clear these abnormal toxins more easily than others, but they still add up and take a toll.

One could generate an extremely long list of toxic chemical substances that should be avoided. The following partial list provides you with a good starting point of substances to consider avoiding.

* man-made fats, especially hydrogenated vegetable oil
* any food containing heavy metals such as fish with high mercury content
* agricultural pesticides
* hormones
* herbicides
* fungicides
* insecticides
* any artificial foods
* artificial colorings (especially Blue #1 and 2, Green #3, Red #2, 3 and 40, Yellow #5 and 6)
* potassium bromate
* processed vegetable oil
* artificial flavorings
* msg (monosodium glutamate)
* all artificial sweeteners, including aspartame, saccharin, sucralose (Splenda), cyclamate
* hydrolysate invert sugar
* lactitol
* maltitol
* sorbitol
* brominated vegetable oil
* butylated hydroxyanisole (bha)
* butylated hydroxytoluene (bht)
* highly refined corn syrup and corn oil
* dextrose (corn sugar, glucose)
* high-fructose corn syrup
* hydrogenated starches
* mannitol polydextrose

Toxins, Genotype, and Toxin-Clearing Abilities

First, let's define what I mean by a toxin. A toxin is a chemical or substance that brings imbalance to the body's cells, creating an adverse environment. Toxins are a poison, but not the same as arsenic or strychnine. Rather, they can be ordinary foods that act as poison to a particular genotype over a long period of time, simply because the foods are wrong for that type. There are many different kinds of food and food sources that can cause harm to the body, if your body is so predisposed.

The standard American diet delivers high amounts of inflammatory fat, usually more frequently than once in every 24- to 48-hour period. These fats, when eaten in excessive amounts, cause long-term inflammation that block the normal functioning of cells by limiting the delivery of nutrition into the cell membrane. The resulting cellular imbalances can bring about many major chronic illnesses.

Each Apo E genotype combination differs in its ability to clear toxic substances from the body. Educating ourselves to the capabilities of the different genotypes enables us to be more aware of our vulnerabilities to various food toxins. We can then use this information to better protect our bodies.

We each have one of the six possible combinations, or genotypes, of the Apo E genes we inherited from our parents. Our genotype determines our body's specific ability to handle toxins from our food: the Apo E 2 genotype provides the most ability to clear them; the Apo E 3 has a more limited ability; and Apo E 4 has a very limited, to no ability at all, to clear toxic substances absorbed from our diet.

The Apo E 4 gene prevents the body's systems from processing certain fats in the diet in a regular and consistent manner. If there are two copies of the Apo E 4 gene present, then you should follow the rules for the 4/4 gene, which includes not exposing your body's cells to any inflammatory fat and proteins that cannot be cleared. As we have seen, bad fat, such as trans fat and saturated fat, causes an accelerated inflammatory response in the body, especially with an Apo E 4.

Many patients with Apo E 4/4 have cholesterol levels in the high 300s to high 400s, with some reaching the 500s. Adhering to the correct diet, and allowing time for the body to recover between exposures, lowers those high cholesterol levels.

The Apo E 3/3 is considered the "normal" Apo E genotype, whose ability to clear and use most fats and proteins is not hindered, but even the Apo E 3/3, with excessive exposure to saturated and trans fats, will have difficulty clearing them. Too much exposure to saturated and trans fats in a 24-hour period may pose problems for the body and it definitely increases bad cholesterol (LDL) and lowers good cholesterol (HDL). However, apply the correct diet for this genotype, allowing ample time between meals containing inflammatory fats and proteins for them to be processed by the body, and a person's LDL and HDL will become normal.

It has been proven repeatedly that individuals with any of the Apo E 4 combinations will respond better to dietary changes than the other genotypes will. Also, people with the Apo E 2/2 or 2/3 combination are more likely to respond better to moderately higher fat diets, while Apo E 4/4 and 4/3 respond better to low-fat diets. The right balance needs to be provided for each genotype. Keep in mind that:

* The toxicity of our body can be influenced by the individual Apo E. This means bodies differ in their ability to clear toxic chemicals and substances.

* The Apo E 4/4 has limited to almost no ability to eliminate processed foods and toxic chemicals. Enhancing the Body's Toxin-Clearing Abilities The following list contains recommendations for behaviors that will enhance your body's ability to clear toxins.

* Avoid foods contaminated with chemicals.
* Avoid refined and processed vegetable oils.
* Avoid processed grains in snack foods.
* Avoid margarine, vegetable shortening, and products made with partially hydrogenated oils.
* Avoid any toxic chemicals and substances that can cause cell inflammation and increase toxic tissue levels.
* Avoid a contaminated water source (including chlorine, heavy metals, and pesticides).
* Identify your body's ability to clear toxic foods and chemicals by knowing your Apo E genotype.
* Help your body clear toxins by getting regular exercise and not consuming excessive calories.
* Always ask questions about the food that is going into your mouth -- and body.
* Avoid excessively large portions.
* Choose organic foods and organic farming processes.
* Support the whole-foods industry.
* Support school system education regarding healthy foods.
* Support accurate nutritional education for doctors, pharmacists, teachers, and the representatives of the food industry.
* Believe that whole, healthy food can be a way of life again -- safe, delicious, convenient, and affordable -- and a win-win for all.
About the Author
Pamela McDonald is a leading Integrative Medicine Nurse Practitioner, who specializes in the prevention of heart and Alzheimer's disease, and chronic illness. To learn more about her groundbreaking book, and program - visit APO E Gene Diet. To subscribe to her free APO E Gene Diet Health Notes - send a blank email to Info@ApoeGenediet.com.
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